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Steve’s Summer Size-Up: No. 7, Memphis Tigers

Memphis Tigers

Throughout the summer, we will be analyzing each of Ole Miss’ 12 opponents for the 2015 season and sizing up how difficult the game will be in relationship to the strength of schedule.

We will take the teams in order of meeting date in an attempt to better inform our fanbase what to realistically anticipate going into this new season.

Opponent No. 7: Memphis Tigers, Oct. 17

  • American Athletic Conference West member
  • 2014 record: 10-3 (Defeated BYU 55-48 in Miami Beach Bowl)
  • Difficulty Ranking: 8th
  • Head coach: Justin Fuente (17-20; 4th year at Memphis)
  • Colors: blue, gray (mascot TOM III)
  • Enrollment: 21,480
  • Liberty Bowl Stadium capacity: 59,308
  • 2014 SEC Results: 0-1 (Lost to Ole Miss 24-3)

 

Forecast: This game looks like an ambush in the waiting with the blue and gray Tigers coming off their first 10 win season since 1938, their 6-7 quarterback Paxton Lynch returning and they are off the week before. It’s also in Memphis where the memory–as a student–will never be erased as I witnessed the first Ole Miss loss ever to this bunch way back in 1967. It wasn’t pretty! However Rebel fans, do not get overly concerned as this Tiger is toothless with 8 defensive starters gone and predicted to fight it out with Navy and Houston in their conference division. Their offense is potent with the primary running backs Doroland Dorceus and sophomore Jarvis Cooper (at 250 pounds) both a threat. Leading receiver Mose Frazier and first team All-League tight end Alan Cross are dangerous and will test any secondary. In addition to the exodus on defense, the coordinator left for Missouri. All in all, no LB’s return who started in 2014 plus three defensive backs and two linemen. They boast the league’s top kicker in Jake Elliott with a 54 yarder vs. BYU and 39/50 field goals. The punting game is also solid.

Conclusion: Anytime we have to travel to Memphis…beware! Just ask the Manning brothers! This will undoubtedly be the most difficult of the nonconference contests, make no mistake. This is Memphis’ sixth game and they will not face either Navy or Houston until November. The key to winning will be keeping our offense on the field and theirs off. I fully expect the Rebel defense to hold their own. This is one game where we need Rebel fans present in mass unlike Nashville. Going in Ole Miss should be a two touchdowns favorite. Going out, let’s hope the oddsmakers were right. Ole Miss has a current six game winning streak vs. Memphis!

Our score prediction: Ole Miss 31 Memphis 17 (7-0; 3-0 in SEC and in top three nationally)

Next Week: Texas A&M


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Steve Vassallo

Steve Vassallo is a HottyToddy.com contributor. Steve writes on Ole Miss athletics, Oxford business, politics and other subjects. He is an Ole Miss grad and former radio announcer for the basketball team. Currently, Steve is a highly successful leader in the real estate business who lives in Oxford with his wife Rosie. You can contact Steve at sovassallo@gmail.com or call him at 985-852-7745

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